a2 Milk Company Ltd (Australia) shares hit record high: Is it time to invest?

The shares of fast-growing dairy company a2 Milk Company Ltd (Australia) (ASX: A2M) have continued to climb higher today and hit a new all-time high of $2.48.

Today’s gain means that its shares have climbed a staggering 40% since the start of November and a whopping 131% in the last 12 months.

November’s gains were largely the result of a very positive trading update at its annual general meeting. That update revealed that during the first four months of FY 2017 sales have grown 96% over the prior corresponding period to NZ$155.2 million.

Furthermore, management revealed that demand in China continues to grow strongly. There had been concerns that changes to import regulations might hinder the company’s progress in the country, but these concerns have been put to bed now in my opinion.

According to the update, Chinese Singles day volume sales of a2 Platinum formula doubled from last year. This led to a2 Platinum Stage 3 being in the top 10 Singles day products across all categories on Chinese e-commerce giant

As a result, I believe it comes as little surprise to see its shares rally in the last month.

But are they still a buy today?

Whilst the surge in its share price in the last month may mean a2 Milk is no longer the bargain buy it was previously, I still believe that the company represents an excellent long-term buy-and-hold investment.

Its enormous growth potential more than justifies paying 30x estimated FY 2017’s earnings in my opinion.

But if that is too rich for you then Bellamy’s Australia Ltd (ASX: BAL) could be just the ticket. At 18x estimated FY 2017’s earnings it still looks to be in bargain territory to me.

As well as these two growth shares, the smart money is on these three hot stocks being big winners in 2017. Is yours?

Big, Fat, Dividends

This company's dividend is almost the stuff of legends. Its reliable cash flows support a high payout ratio, and the company's stash of franking credits are the cherry on the top of the dividend cake. Based on the last 12-months of dividends, shares are offering a fully-franked 6.5% yield, which grosses up to a whopping 9.3%, when those franking credits are included.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of A2 Milk and Bellamy's Australia. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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